Mount Fuji is the tallest peak in Japan. It’s a stratovolcano located on the island of Honshu. Honshu is roughly 60 miles (100 km) west of Tokyo, Japan’s largest city.
Mount Fuji is the tallest of a chain of volcanoes along the western margin of the Pacific Ocean. It is 12,388 feet (3,776 m) tall. Mount Fuji is shaped like a cone, a shape typical to stratovolcanoes. The base has a circumference of 12 miles (19.3 km). It’s almost perfectly symmetrical. Mount Fuji has steep sides and its peak is covered in snow between the months of October to June.
Although it hasn’t erupted since 1707, most geologists consider Mount Fuji active. This is because Mount Fuji is located at the center of much tectonic activity. It sits atop the meeting place of three tectonic plates: the Amurian plate, the Okhotsk plate, and the Filipino plate.
Mount Fuji is an iconic image in Japan. The volcano is often celebrated in art and literature.
Much of the area around the base is covered in cherry blossom trees, another iconic image of Japan. There are so many cherry blossom trees around Mount Fuji, that there’s an official cherry blossom viewing season, called Hanami.
Mount Fuji formed some 8,000-11,000 years ago. It first formed on top of the remnants of an older volcano. A series of violent eruptions shook the earth and sent up outpourings of lava. When hardened, another eruption covered the cone again, building on what was there. Today, Mount Fuji is made of many layers of rock, ash, and lava.
Some of these eruptions, about 100 years ago, released such great amounts of lava that rivers to the north of Mount Fuji became blocked and could no longer drain. The lava hardened, effectively forging dams and creating five lakes. The five Fuji lakes are Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko, Lake Motosuko, Lake Kawaguchiko, and Lake Yamanakako. Lake Yamanakako is the largest of the five lakes. It has a surface area of about 2.5 square miles (6.46km).
Many animals call Mount Fuji home. Black bears, squirrels, and foxes are some. Some of the mammals that live there are unique to the area. The Japanese serow is one such animal. It’s a Japanese goat-antelope found only in the dense woodland of Japan and primarily on the island of Honshu.